The waiting finally came to an end on Saturday when the community of Aldbourne celebrated the official opening of the Junction Youth and Community Centre by local farmer and industrialist Brian Kingham.
The two buildings in The Square, Aldbourne have been bought by the Kingham Family Trust and leased for 25 years to Aldbourne Youth Council for a peppercorn rent, their refurbishment and maintenance now the responsibility of the Aldbourne Youth Council.
Now the almost derelict buildings have been brought back to life thanks to £220,000 raised by the Youth Council within one year thanks to generous donations made by residents, community groups and local businesses.
But the bulk came from grants received from the Garfield Weston Foundation, which gave £10,000, Brian Kingham, Marlborough Area Board, Aldbourne Parish Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner Fund and Aster Housing.
Another £50,000 came from from the Landfill Communities Fund which is administered for the Hills Group Ltd by Community First, the Rural Community Council for Wiltshire. The North Wessex Downs leader programme, part of the Rural Development Programme for England, also awarded £57,200 and Village SOS Big Lottery Funded gave £30,000 towards the second hand shop element of the project.
Mr Kingham told Marlborough News Online: “I am delighted to have purchased these buildings for youth and community use,
“Aldbourne is a wonderful village with a real and vibrant community spirit. Now we have a dedicated place for young people to congregate and enjoy a wide range of activities. This project has the unique advantage of huge community support.
“The Junction will be an inspiring place for young people to develop and to learn and to reach out for the fantastic opportunities the world has to offer.”
Carol Flinders, who chairs the Aldbourne Youth Council, said: “I am so very proud to be part of this wonderful community, where we have listened to voice of the youth and helped them live their dream.
“It’s what the Aldbourne Youth Council is all about. The Community Junction is a safe place for all to meet, young and not so young, with mutual respect, where life skills are learned from each other.”
Trustees and youth members have put together an exciting range of activities for all ages to participate in. Ukulele lessons start September 26, Cook n Craft, youth cookery sessions and an all about chocolate talk in November in addition to chill out evenings for young people.
Dreamy Sheep Chocolate Club enterprise for young people age 15+ launches its first homemade chocolate today.
Youth volunteers are able to play an active role in managing activities at the centre from running the second hand shop to managing a holiday let or just chilling out in the new teenager’s room.
Profits from the enterprising activities will go towards running costs and maintaining Community Junction ensuring Community Junction remains sustainable for years to come.